An average of about 250 children under age 5 drown annually in swimming pools. Drowning is the leading cause of death of young children in Florida and in many other states.

Thousands of children have died or suffered serious brain damage because of defective pool gates and fences, defective pumps and defective drains in pools. While we have represented families in cases dealing with various safety lapses, the issue of ill-maintained pool gates and fences are a particular concern to us, because so many children drown in the Central Florida area every year.

Our law firm has handled all types of drowning accident cases, including those in which death or significant injury was caused by:

1. Inadequate life saving equipment
2. Lack of delineation between shallow and deep end of the pool
3.No steps at the edge of the pool for exiting
4. No clearly defined safety plan
5. Inadequate training for lifeguards
6. No buddy system in place
7. No defibrillator available at a public pool

In fact, in the State of Florida homeowner’s are required by law to implement certain safety measures in and/or around their swimming pools to prevent drowning and/or serious injury to children and the elderly.

515.27  Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.--
(1)  In order to pass final inspection and receive a certificate of completion, a residential swimming pool must meet at least one of the following requirements relating to pool safety features:
(a)  The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements of s. 515.29;
(b)  The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;
(c)  All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet; or
(d)  All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
(2)  A person who fails to equip a new residential swimming pool with at least one pool safety feature as required in subsection (1) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, except that no penalty shall be imposed if the person, within 45 days after arrest or issuance of a summons or a notice to appear, has equipped the pool with at least one safety feature as required in subsection (1) and has attended a drowning prevention education program established by s. 515.31. However, the requirement of attending a drowning prevention education program is waived if such program is not offered within 45 days after issuance of the citation.

515.29  Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.--
(1)  A residential swimming pool barrier must have all of the following characteristics:
(a)  The barrier must be at least 4 feet high on the outside.
(b)  The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.
(c)  The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.
(d)  The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water's edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.
(2)  The structure of an aboveground swimming pool may be used as its barrier or the barrier for such a pool may be mounted on top of its structure; however, such structure or separately mounted barrier must meet all barrier requirements of this section. In addition, any ladder or steps that are the means of access to an aboveground pool must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access or must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of this section.
(3)  Gates that provide access to swimming pools must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and equipped with a self-latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.
(4)  A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door or window that opens to provide access to the swimming pool.
(5)  A barrier may not be located in a way that allows any permanent structure, equipment, or similar object to be used for climbing the barrier.
If you or someone you know have lost a love one and have questions about swimming pool safety law, give us a call at 407-481-8103.